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No Turning Back: My Journey to a Radiant Smile

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APhobicQueen

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Mar 2, 2022
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152
Location
Canada
Well here we are. It’s Monday! The day before. My last day with my teeth as they are now. My last day with four of my teeth (I think I know which ones are going now, taking bets to say if I’m right. If I am, maybe I’ll buy myself a treat LOL) I wasn’t sure what I was going to write here today, I thought about doing a letter type of entry, to my younger self (and to anyone who would read it who is terrified and scared of what’s to come, but then I thought “that should be saved for later.” So that’s what I’ll do. If I remember of course!)

Instead, I’m going to talk about my prep. In anticipation of E-Day I’ve not been able to get all the soft food I’ve wanted but enough that I should be okay. I have a hug bag of potatoes in any case :) But also tomato soup, vegetables I can cook until they’re nice and tender (mostly carrots I think. Mushrooms might be a bit too chewy but we’ll see.) Bananas which I can cobble together into an almost baby food like substance myself, soft oat bars (which will be for later, they’re sticky, and I don’t want anything in the extraction site of course!), some oat milk (which is gluten free and dairy free somehow, amazing!), and some tomato soup which is also gluten free (why soup contains gluten I’ll never know.)

Yes, I feel like no one ever mentions how hard it suddenly becomes to buy food for E-Day when you have dietary restrictions: I can’t eat gluten and I can’t have too much dairy or really any lactose. Fun times! But I’ll get through it LOL Maybe that will be the toughest part. I wasn’t able to get baby food (because I forgot about it, but I plan to maybe get some if I feel I need it for nutrients. We’ll see how it goes.)

I’m very lucky, because I’m losing four upper front teeth. My molars are intact. That means I’m retaining pretty much all of my chewing ability, it’s more the power of biting and tearing of food that I’m losing power/some ability on. So on that front, once my extraction sites are not in danger of debris getting stuck in them, or the blood clots being dislodged, I should be fine to go back to eating a lot of what I was eating before. Which is great! It’ll pretty much be what I’ve been doing the last seven months, just with a few less teeth to use.

So that’s out of the way. I’ve got pillows to prop myself up with, and I’ll remember to grab a towel to lay over the one I’ll be sleeping on tomorrow. I’ve got flat shoes and not heels (because walking in heels after waking up from GA might be a bad idea LOL), I’ve washed the clothes I’ll be wearing tomorrow…and I’ll be taking photos later today.

Photos you ask? Yes photos. I’ve seen a lot of people mention how important it is to take photos of your teeth/smile as it is now, so when you get demotivated you can look at them and remind yourself, you’re never going back there. But I also saw it can be a good thing to do, so you can show the dentist what your teeth looked like before when they go to make perms. In my case, it might be very important, because he won’t have ever seen me with these teeth and there won’t be any impressions until after the teeth are out. It’s also a huge, big deal. This year, I have taken no photos of myself. None. I haven’t wanted to. I haven’t wanted to remember this time in my life. So I just thought I’d go into hibernation and have photos of myself after all is said and done. Not so. Today I will be taking my first open smile in years (I always smiled with my mouth closed in photos of course, and lemme tell you, I don’t have the lips for it. My smile looks far better when it’s open, and not closed. But you know. Survival was closing my mouth and smiling or not doing it at all.) And I’ll be able to remember this time and see hopefully my progress.

I’m also going to do a little something. I’m reinventing myself completely with the partials and the work done on my teeth. Because I should, because it’s one of my biggest and longest running traumas and by facing it, I will be a different person. One of the parts of my reinvention is makeup. I’d like to get back into it, and of course that means lipstick! I mean I’ll have new teeth, I better show them off!

There are virtual try on apps you can use for products. And I was thinking. Wouldn’t it be something if I used them to try on lipstick and take some photos of my current smile with those lipsticks and then, if I buy the products later with my new smile, I can compare them? I though that might be a nice little thing to do. I feel like makeup would really help highlight the differences between now and later you know? Before/After. The fear and then the healing.

This is a mess of a post, oh boy. I’m tired from Thanksgiving festivities so it’s been hard to get my brain to make sense. Perhaps this is nonsense. But if it is, I hope you enjoy it in any case.

I’ll probably make one last post before the procedure, on Tuesday morning, but if I don’t, ”see” you on the other side of this!
 
A

APhobicQueen

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Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
152
Location
Canada
Today’s the day.

Today.

This afternoon to be exact.

I woke up early this morning much to my annoyance, because I was hoping I could be asleep for longer and not deal with anxiety and reality :) I wish my appointment had been in the morning, but oh well, what can you do?

I’ve got the pit in my stomach again, and the feeling of not wanting to move. My body trying to freeze up on me. But other than that, the dread, there’s not a lot going on. Remarkable actually that I’m just sort of getting the standard anxiety, I always get. I call that progress!

I will say, I do think I feel the beginnings of a bit of grief welling up. Because this is it. Those four teeth in my mouth are going to be gone after today. While I do look forward to not having to clean out a crater every time I floss (really, I had to use a floss pick to get out debris because of the size), it’s still my tooth you know? Those are my teeth. They’ve been with me for three decades, even if I haven’t taken care of them very well.

Fun fact: I looked up what happens to extracted teeth because I didn’t know, and most of them are disposed of via hazardous waste containers. Sometimes extracted teeth might get donated to a dental school but most of the time it’s incineration or another means of permanent disposal. That’s so weird! But also kind of cool?

Anyway. As I was saying. I guess it’s appropriate for me to sort of say goodbye to those teeth, and to accept that I might go through some (or all) of the stages of grief. This is a big event in my life, and even if it leads to wonderful thing (which it will damn it), it’s still a lot to process.

I’m trying to focus on the remaining teeth actually. Because I think that will really help (especially if Dr.G is able to do what she said and fix all the remaining teeth up, or the ones that need fillings anyway.) But those 24 teeth that will still be in my mouth require me not to wallow and be sad for too long about what isn’t there. I need to be sure I’m fully taking care of them. Stepping up. And you know, maybe it won’t be so bad. No really. I‘ve shifted my mind set a lot these past few weeks (as you can see from the posts here), and I’ve moved myself into a more positive direction.

Like I said, this is reinvention. This is finally breaking a chain that has been around my ankle since I was a child. I think of all the photos I’ve had taken over the years, and how I didn’t smile with my real smile, I think of how none of my friends know my real open mouthed smile. I think of the fact that when I wore makeup in the past, I’d always be nervous it was drawing attention to my bad teeth. I think of laughing or smile, caught in a moment, only to realize my teeth looked awful and hoping no one noticed. I think of all these things and more, and I know I can be okay. Half the battle is just thinking I will be, rather than I won’t be.

I really think that appointment last Tuesday helped. Even though it was short, it proved to me that I can go into a dentist’s office, that I can sit and lay back in a chair, that I can let a dentist see my mouth. I said this before, but the quiet confidence and steadiness of the team was really something. There was no doubt to them how this would go. It seemed routine, like they do this all the time. And if they’re as steady as that, shouldn’t I be the same?

Yes I’m going to shake and tremble. Yes I’ll probably feel knots in my stomach. I might even have a tension headache. My body will be protesting with every fibre for me to back away and run. But I’m not going to. The only way to heal is to go through the fire.

I remember as a child watching an educational show for kids. It answered common questions about why things are the way they are. One of the questions they answered was: how do people run over hot coals and not get burned? They went into the specifics with the science, etc, etc. Part of it you know, is the adrenaline they feel, giving them a boost, not letting them register any sense of sting immediately. Another part is simple mind set. If they think they’ll make it over those coals, chances are they will.

It’s like that. I’m running over coals but I can make it. I just have to accept this adrenaline and anxiety, and then continue forward.

Well, it’s time for me to get ready. Onwards to E-Day!
 
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Beccab213

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May 29, 2019
Messages
61
Location
USA
It’s my extraction day too! I’m having two bottom molars removed. Think how great it will be when we are on the other side of this! Good luck!
 
A

APhobicQueen

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Messages
152
Location
Canada
@Beccab213 Yay extraction buddies! (not so much yay that we need them, but it’s kind of nice to know someone else is having it done on the same day who understands what it means.) But yes, it’ll be great! Relief finally, and no more worrying about ticking time bombs in our mouths as they say.

Good luck to you too! Please let me (and everyone else) know how it goes! :grouphug:
 
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Beccab213

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May 29, 2019
Messages
61
Location
USA
It went well. There was some pressure, but I never felt pain. Two teeth extracted with bone grafting and first stage implants are now complete!
 
A

APhobicQueen

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Mar 2, 2022
Messages
152
Location
Canada
Okay, so I am popping in surprisingly, when I though it wouldn’t be tomorrow to say: I DID IT. I’m at home now, and I‘m in pain with what sounds like a chain smoker‘s cough LOL but I DID IT.

I can’t believe I’ve done this. I can’t believe I actually did it.

A few brief notes:
— they did do freezing. I do not like the freezing. Damn, it feels weird. 10/10 do not want to do again LOL let’s hope uhhh, no more fillings ever? That my teeth stay nice and healthy and perfect as is :)
— it cost less than they thought! Only one was a complicated extraction (I knew it)
— I’m going to meet the denturist as 1:45 pm on November 10th. Cool. They really want me to have my partial my Christmas.
— I apparently was an excellent, amazing patient so yay.
— I can’t take any pain medication right now. Why you ask? Well I couldn’t take any before because I can’t swallow things whole and I can’t take any after at the moment, because the freezing is preventing me from getting a feel on. But I am in pain with a headache and my teeth so I dunno. At some point I’ll have to try. When I put the cup to my lips tho, I was immediately like “nah, I am going to dribble this all out and that will not be good.” So I’m waiting.
— I feel bad for the nurse (who was lovely!) because when in the wake up mode, I kept taking the pulse monitor of my finger and also kept trying to roll onto my side (I thought I was at home!)
— I actually still don’t know which four are missing from my mouth LOL that shall be an adventure later.

Anyway. That’s it for now. BUT I DID IT EVERYONE!

@Beccab213 So happy to hear yours went well too! When we’re feeling better, we need to celebrate!
 
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Beccab213

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May 29, 2019
Messages
61
Location
USA
I’m so glad this went well for you! We made it to the other side!
Here’s to a speedy recovery!
 
A

APhobicQueen

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Mar 2, 2022
Messages
152
Location
Canada
@Beccab213 the most speedy for us both!

I’m so happy and proud of us. I’m virtually high fiving right now!
 
A

APhobicQueen

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Mar 2, 2022
Messages
152
Location
Canada
All right. So, it technically has not even been 24 hours since my extraction and fillings were done, but I’ve got more observations to jot down here anyway:

— It turns out having a sore throat post extraction is normal. Also very normal post general anesthesia. Does that make it any less painful? No. Does it make any less annoying? No.
— I’m more tired today than I was yesterday which is funny to me because the effects of the general definitely wore off fairly quickly. But you know, healing, it makes one tired.
— I’m not in that much pain, just a bit of soreness really.
— I was completely wrong about which teeth were being extracted. Guess who still has one of her front teeth? It’s me! Guess who is going through it with that front tooth right now? Also me. See, there’s nothing next to that tooth right now (which I believe also got filled), so uh, it’s an island. And it feels all big and weird and heavy in my mouth. Maybe a little loose too. Perfectly normal I imagine, as it went from having partners in crime to being all on its lonesome, and then you have the swelling too.
— I’m currently using a medicine cup (the kind you put liquid medicine in) to drink water. What no one tells you is that a lot of post op extraction instructions are done for people who are missing molars. If you’re missing other teeth, it seems assumed you’d get immediates instead. Basically I’m having to be more creative and it kind of sucks.
— I really miss food. And tea. And just drinking as much water from a water bottle as I wanted.
— When I first woke up from anaesthesia, I was shaking like a leaf and my teeth were chattering. I had such an intense headache, and was so nauseous, it was awful. That‘s gone now.
— Waiting for my mouth to heal is also not fun. I can’t help it, I’m impatient! I want it to be healed up! I want to sleep on my side again! And not worry about food (I mean this in the way that I have all my bottom teeth and my molars are intact, except I might be missing one pre-molar)
— I keep having to remind myself it hasn’t even bene 24 hours lol
— I only saw the dentist once actually, the entire time. She came in before I was going under to say we had agreed what was being done, etc, etc. The person I saw the most? The nurse. Who was very nice.
— I have a new fear unlocked! They went to put a mask on me to give oxygen and some anaesthesia, and I immediately panicked. I didn’t like having something suctioned to my face like that. So I said I was uncomfortable and asked to take a break, and immediately the mask was taking off of me. I wasn’t yelled at all. The nurse then said “can I do it like this?” And put it close to my face/nose, but not covering it and it was fine. Once again, treated like a human being! We love to see it.
— I find it funny that the worst thing right now isn’t even my extraction sites. I hardly notice them. If I drink a lot, I notice the front tooth one, but really all I’m focused on and feeling is that remaining front tooth in my mouth and then like some stuffiness/sore throat/super dry lips.
— I haven’t looked in my mouth yet. I don’t know when I will to be honest. I mean I obviously need to, but I need to pick the right time. I’m having my mom check my mouth to see how it’s healing for now.
— I didn’t realize this because I was so anxious for the procedure itself, but the anxiety post procedure is actually pretty bad too. It‘s this waiting game. It’s this “oh what if I don’t heal right?” and definitely feeling that feeling of regret. This is normal however, I was told it was. Everyone who gets major dental work done like this has these feelings of “I wish I hadn’t” at some point. It will pass, definitely as I get better.
— Sleep is actually the best remedy though. When I’m asleep everything is fine. Sleeping Beauty was so lucky honestly LOL
— I haven’t been able to talk really at all. Byproduct of a dry and sore throat I think.
— I’m going to be honest on here and I really hope this doesn’t scare anyone but listen: nothing can prepare you for this. Absolutely nothing. It definitely helps to read other people’s stories, and research what happens and talk with your dentist (duh), but at the end of the day: I had seven months to prepare and I wasn’t. It’s a weird time. I will say though: This. Will. Pass. I know it will. The waiting is just the brutal part of it all.
— I don’t think it’s hit me yet that I actually did this thing that I was terrified of. I have a habit of downplaying anything I’ve done that’s good and I should be proud of, so I imagine that’s coming into play here. So I’m writing this again to remind myself: I did something I thought I couldn’t do. I did something terrifying. I did the first and biggest and hardest step in my treatment arguably (learning to live with partials aside) I DID IT. What an amazing feat. What a thing to have done.

Okay I think that’s all for now, I’m going to go and drink some more water and um, try to sleep I think some more because I love sleep. Sleep is great.
 
A

APhobicQueen

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Mar 2, 2022
Messages
152
Location
Canada
Well hello everyone! Welcome back to another edition of: APhobicQueen Thought She Knew What Would Happen After The Procedure But Really Didn’t And It’s Been…Something Else.

Okay, it’s a long title, but I’m working on it. Oof.

Remember how I said you can’t be prepared for major dental procedures like extractions? You really can’t. Because there’s no telling what will happen afterwards. You think you’ve got it figured out, but uh, well unpredictable life gets in the way.

Case in point: the person who was meant to be caring for me during this time? Is sick! And there is a chance I, myself, am sick as well. Hence the sore throat, stuffy nose, and a bit of a cough I have going on right now. How did this person get sick? From sheer selfishness honestly (someone came to our home for Canadian Thanksgiving who was coughing quite a lot, and despite knowing of what was happening with me in a few days, decided to go ahead and show up anyway. Like I said, it was selfish and awful, and I’m no longer very inclined towards that family member.)

Now it’s not certain that I am sick but based on the aches and pains in my body, the general tiredness, etc, etc, it kind of seems like I am. Which really sucks when one is trying to heal from major dental surgery.

Now, for the next part. Oof. Yeah. Because of all that mucus and stuff that’s been going on, I’ve been having a problem drinking or eating. I’m pretty dehydrated right now, because when I do drink water, I end up having to clear my throat and cough a lot. And then my throat hurts worse. What I really need is some medicine for my throat and a hot tea, but I can’t have those yet. So I’m sort of living with the pain for now. Maybe I can get some liquid throat medicine? I dunno. But I feel like having something would be really nice.

Today is the first day since Monday, I’ve had anything other than water. I’m having oat milk. Which is still liquid but it has nutrition to it! So that’s good. I definitely need it.

As for my remaining front tooth in my mouth. It feels funky and weird still. The gum is definitely tender when I accidentally brush it with my tongue. But according to my mom, it’s healing well! She said there was a little bit of blood around one of my remaining tooth which should be gone by the time
I can start brushing them again. And that the holes are basically non existent now, which is good. Because I’m paranoid about dislodging those blood clots LOL

Also I did have a little look into my mouth yesterday. So now I know the four teeth that are gone! You’ve got the front tooth, the one with the crack and hole, and then the incisor next to it is missing too. The incisor on the other side is also gone. And then you have one premolar on the side with the missing front tooth and incisor.

I was so surprised that they left my canine that was stuck in my gum (from when it came in before a baby tooth came out) but they did. It looked like it was in a wonky position now though. I’m going to assume that it might be able to shift into a more proper position now that the small, barely there incisor is gone? They’ve also reshaped it.

And they reshaped my front tooth too! It’s straight edged now. Previously, it had had jagged edges (like my front four bottom teeth), and now it’s straight. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but I can understand why they did it. I imagine making a partial will be easier now. I just hope it matches up to my bottom teeth okay.

Speaking of my bottom teeth. I don’t notice anything with them LOL they look whiter I think! (I mean no, really, everyone, you should see my top teeth. They are so white now, it’s like what, how? How did you get them that white? Holy moly! I haven’t had white teeth like that since I was a kid maybe.) But other than that, they’re there and chilling and just being their normal teeth self which is lovely honestly. I need some normalcy.

Yesterday, I was so paranoid, I started to look up everything I was feeling and started panicking thinking everything had gone wrong, and I’d made a mistake and maybe I should have said something and rescheduled because maybe I was already sick and just didn’t know it? This is the rawness of healing though. You know, I went through the fire of the procedure, but now I’m in the after effects and they are brutal because there’s added unpredictability.

Also because of my sore throat and mucus situation, I also can’t really talk right now at all. Which is quite interesting. I’m really happy I grabbed a “text to speech“ app on my phone LOL I’m making good use of it.

I’m hoping I end up feeling better soon, and that my mouth will start feeling normal again soon. Send me all the positive healing energy you can everyone!

Again, I hope this doesn’t scare anyone who was reading my journal and hoping I’d tell them about the sunshines and rainbows that some people have happen after they get their work done. That does happen! It just hasn’t with me because apparently the universe decided that’d be too simple LOL
 
A

APhobicQueen

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Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
152
Location
Canada
And we’re back again!

(I’m going to issue a content warning for this post, that I do talk about health anxiety and some scary health things my anxiety makes me think. Please take care of yourself when reading!)

Things are improving. Sort of. Remember that thing I said about potentially being sick? Well apparently the universe decided I was too OP to just handle extractions because a person I’m living with (who was originally in charge of my care) might have Covid. Oops. (I say might because they’ve done a rapid test so far, and it seemed positive but it also could have been a false positive. They are definitely sick, so I’m trying to stay away.) So there is a chance that my continual throat irritation and coughing might be a bit of a cold or some such, which would be irritated by the fact I had a breathing tube down in my throat for general.

Yesterday, I spiralled downwards to rock bottom. Ah, yes, the rock bottom of post extractions. I’d been warned about it. I’d read about it. And I knew it was coming. But nothing really prepared me for the moment that it would happen. Where I would look at the pieces scattered around me, pick them up, and think “oh but I have made a mistake haven’t I?”

Last night, I thought maybe I should have said that my throat had been a bit sore a few days prior to the procedure. I thought I should have mentioned how dry my mouth had been lately. I thought ”I messed up, not saying anything and now look! Look at the damage done!”

I don’t know if I’ve said this, but in case I haven’t, I also suffer from health anxiety. It’s debilitating, health anxiety. It is a monster of a thing, looming over my head constantly, and just waiting to strike. Last night it was grinning as I cough and hacked and felt like I couldn’t breathe or swallow or do anything…as it played thoughts in my head of having to go a hospital because I couldn’t breathe, and be intubated or something else while having these extraction site holes. I was so frightened and scared, I really felt like something had gone terribly wrong and everything was falling apart.

In my fear, I ended up posting on here to ask a dentist’s opinion about what was going on with me. I got a reply (thank you Gordon!) and when I read it this morning, I felt more relieved than I already did.

Oh more relieved? Wait, a minute, back up, weren’t you talking about how afraid you were just a few sentences ago? Yes, yes I was.

I don’t know what changed. I know this sounds rough, but I don’t really know. I was sitting down in our living room area instead of in my bedroom and I was watching sports. And you all remember my little hockey analogy from before? About how most hockey players are missing teeth and they take that like a champ. Don’t bat an eye at it really? Yes. So a commercial came on with Sidney Crosby and in this commercial, he’s smiling all big and wide and happily with really nice teeth. And I just said out loud:

”Those aren’t your real teeth.”

Because they aren’t. Sidney is missing his front teeth from an unfortunate hockey incident, so those teeth are fake. And you know, this is even funnier, they’re also pretty big.
I said, I was having some issues with my remaining front tooth (which I am.) It feels too big in my mouth, too bulky. Now, whether or not it needs to be reshaped remains to be seen (thank goodness I’ve learned it’s simple to do and painless! Whew) but in any case, I felt like it, and my other teeth around my extraction sites were so big now. Like surely, no one’s teeth are that big that aren’t some stereotypical hillbilly type?

Wrong. As it turns out, it might be more accurate to assume my front teeth were smaller than they should have been in comparison to what’s average. Obviously, everyone’s mouth is different. Mine’s pretty small, but the feeling of too big may not actually be the case. It might just be my perception and the fact that my remaining front teeth have room now and aren’t, you know, caught up in cavities and cracks and decay. Ick!

And I don’t know what it was about looking at that hockey player and seeing that commercial, but it just jolted me out of my spiral. I ended up staying up a little late, watching TV and just chilling and it was…nice. I didn’t even cough at all or clear my throat. It was nice. It felt like some sort of break. I definitely think staying in bed all day, 24/7 wasn’t helpful for my mindset.

In terms of improvements too, today I took a shower for the first time since procedure day! Woohoo! I had to be careful about my head and where my mouth was going but it was great to be clean. Finally.

Eating is still a challenge. I haven’t tried solid food yet, mainly because I’m nervous about trying to keep it away from the extraction sites! Oh it’s easy enough if you just had extractions on one side of your mouth but when it’s at the front, you‘re kind of screwed for keeping things away. I did have a sad little incident when I was desperate for nutrition and had an Ensure. Sad because uhhhh, it contained milk. Did I tell you guys I have a lactose/dairy sensitivity? I do.

Not my smartest move but hey.

I’ve been drinking oat milk for now, which contains no dairy and does have nutrients in it. But oh man, I cannot wait to sink my teeth (hehe) into food again. I miss it a lot. I want so many things. There’s this sub place that makes really delicious subs that I can eat (dietary restrictions do limit what I can get out) and I have a craving. I can practically taste the sauce.

I’ve also started doing the salt water rinses. Truthfully, it’s hard to say if I’m doing them right but I must be right? No swishing, but kind of just tilt my head to either side so the salt water can get everywhere and then let it dribble out of my mouth. Seems about right? I think I could maybe brush my bottom teeth (they didn’t have any work done to them [unless it was fillings but I don’t know if anything was done actually?], so they’ve just been there, being nice little teeth and not feeling any different), but again, I’m a little nervous to do that before the a week has passed. It’s really hard when you have dental anxiety to not freak out about the timing of things!

I’ve also been talking more. Starting today! It’s been…an experience. With holes in my upper fronts, and a front tooth that feels too big, you can imagine speaking is a bit of an oddity. But the fact I’m talking more? Huge improvement! Even if I start slurring my words a bit and drooling a lot. I’m just practicing for when I get the partial LOL

I know I haven’t mentioned pain here, but that’s because it hasn’t really been an issue. I can’t swallow pills whole so I’ve been melting Tylenol and drinking it (there’s a shortage of liquid Tylenol of course, so I’m just using tablets) whenever I need to. Occasionally I get some sharper or more intense pain (mainly on left side where the extractions were done) but other than that, it hasn’t been too, too bad. I imagine the coughing doesn’t help with that.

Hmm, what else, what else? Oh. My mouth is moving again. Making more shapes. I don’t know that you’re really told about that part of extractions. It might not even apply to everyone, but one thing I didn’t expect was the lack of ability of my mouth to form shapes. That was so weird. It‘s moving again more normally, and having it change itself for expressions is nice. You don’t realize how much you miss an ability till it’s no longer present for a while.

I think that’s all for today. My mouth is feeling a bit stiff now, so I’m going to try to rest and try to stop holding it oddly (with some tension because it’s like my mouth isn’t sure how it should be held now. It’s okay mouth, we’ll get there!)

Part of me feels a sense of regret over posting those other updates. Like, oh they were so sour and I was doing so well with a shifting mindset! But again, like I said to someone else on here, healing isn’t linear. None of this process is linear. If I don’t show that raw journey, of slipping back, if I only show the good, then that wouldn’t be of much help would it?
Here’s to healing and all it entails :cheers:
 
A

APhobicQueen

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Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
152
Location
Canada
So today (this morning) is more of day four post extraction, and then heading into day five (I base my days off of when I woke up from general since I had my procedure done in the afternoon.) But I do want to just say some brief notes. More updates: oh my!

1. Healing with a cold is the actual worst, holy moly, someone make this cold go away! It looks like it’s my nose that seems to be acting up. It’s stuffy, and irritated (which will also happen post oral surgery too) and it runs sometimes. And then I end up with a dry throat and coughing, and oh, the pain. The pain. I’ll get this intense shooting pain where one of my extraction sites is located. At first I thought it was dry socket and I was panicking but then I realized the pain would come in sharply and then ease. And it hadn’t spread to my ear or across my face. I would feel this pain in the extraction site (funnily enough, it’s the one with that very irritated tooth I used to have. The one with all the red around it), and I would have pain going above that area to where my nose was but that’s all. So no, not dry socket. More than likely just a cold messing with me. (Just by the way, I did taken a rapid test that came back negative so at the very least it’s not Covid!)

2. Yesterday was the longest I’ve gone without pain killers! I probably wouldn’t have taken them at all if it weren’t for the cold pain (which oh yeah, you can hear it in my voice. Not only do I sound weird with missing teeth but now I have cold voice. It’s a very interesting combination.) but this is great!

3. Yesterday was also my first attempt at some form of non liquid food. Banana baby food! I ate it all but was starving later because, well, it’s not exactly filling. It was difficult to eat, because it’s just hard to keep food away from my extraction sites since they’re right there. I had a few mess ups and tried my best though. When I can eat normal food again, I’m never taking it for granted. Ever.

4. I haven’t mentioned the fillings situation at all, but you know, apparently they had to do less than we all thought? I‘m going to ask if I can see the line by line breakdown of what they did, because I would like to know (also kind of important I know what teeth have fillings non?) but in any case, it looks like there was only one tooth that was a full on, all hands on deck, filling. Which excellent! I wonder if that was a back lower molar, because it looks filled to me. But I’m curious to know what fillings were done, and what needed them. I’m so happy to hear that it wasn’t like every tooth like they originally quoted me on LOL

5. I bought myself some makeup! No lipstick, because it’ll be a while before I can use that again, but I did buy myself something I can use now: an eyeshadow palette. Now, I didn’t stop using makeup for a few years because of my teeth (though wearing a bright red lip, etc, etc when you know you have bad teeth is not a great experience), but I think I underestimated how much my teeth were holding me back anyway. How they, even if not a conscious thought still played a role in what I wore or how I dressed and presented myself. Even if it was eyeshadow, the focus is still on the face, and if the focus is on the face, inevitably, someone is going to look at your lips. And well, better to not you know? It’s too much of a risk, putting myself out there. Being bold. I’m excited though to experiment! And to treat myself as I am. (Though I will note here it may not be the most financially sound option right now, but damn it, I deserve pretty things after this!) Plus it will keep me busy while I recover from this cold.

6. Honestly, despite the uh, extraction sites and mess that is those healing up right now, looking at my teeth now, is a different experience. They do look better. I mean there’s no more brown spot on my front tooth! There’s no more black spot on one of my incisors. There’s nothing! Like when I smile, and you see that one tooth (as weird as it is because I mean it is just the one lol) it’s like “oh. Look at that. It’s not stained. There’s no cavity.” And I can actually see how my smile can look in the future with the partial. One family member even said to me “your smile is going to be so beautiful by the end of this.”

7. I know I said this already but I think it can be repeated: I’m feeling much better today. Except for the cold. But if we focus purely on the healing of extractions: I’m sounding better, my teeth feel less odd, and it looks like the extraction sites are starting to look a little less messy and a little more healed. My mouth feels much less awkward which is awesome. Feels more like my mouth again. Which whew.

This is a process, this is a journey. And it’s not easy, nothing about it is, but I’m really seeing the future now. I’m starting to feel a bit more like myself and that’s just a beautiful thing. And I’m thinking of that glorious future and those dreams I can fully reach for now, with both hands, without being held back. Because there is nothing. Nothing will hold me back now.

This is the greatest challenge I have ever faced in my life, this has been the worst year of my life (full stop, not hyperbole) but I’m ready to come out the other side, and head into 2023 like a freaking butterfly that’s burst out of its cocoon. :-*
 
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APhobicQueen

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Okay, it’s Sunday which means we’re into Day 5/6 post extraction! I hope no one minds the notes format I’m doing these days because it’s easier and I’m tired LOL Also the daily updates! I wasn’t originally going to do daily updates, but I think sometimes when people talk about their extraction experiences, they can be a bit too generalized. Which is fine! But I hope if there’s someone who’d like more detail, that I can help, at least with what happened to me (everyone is different, as I now have first hand experience.)

1. I…did not have many fillings: I had a four surface, a three surface, a one surface and I can’t remember, maybe a two surface? But that was it. On my bill they were all listed as “acid etched” and two of them were anteriors (I’m going to assume those are the ones still in my mouth where the extractions are that look all nice?) and one was a molar. Everything else was left. So the whole worst case scenario they were thinking of back in March, was just that. Worst case scenario. I mean I still had to have four teeth extracted, but if you look at my first post, they quote me at 10k and said six teeth extracted initially and god knows what else. This was probably best case. I’m also really happy that one of my teeth that I thought was getting extracted (a canine) is still there. When I couldn’t use my front teeth for the months I was waiting for this procedure, I could use that tooth to do some biting motions or get the food to my molars (I was trying so hard not to overwork my poor molars!) and so the fact it’s still there means I can do the same (once the extraction sites are healed and there’s no risk of course.)

2. I ate real food finally! I know that you can generally eat real food at a maximum of about 48 hours post, but I…did not. I was afraid of getting anything in my extraction sites to be honest (still am actually.) And I didn’t want an infection or dry socket. I also had this weird fear that my remaining teeth couldn’t or wouldn’t chew things properly or work properly. I don’t know why. I still haven’t used my front tooth or any of the teeth that are in that front area where the extraction sites are (of course) but I did use my molars to eat some bread and cheese yesterday (with this delicious red pepper soup.

Fun fact: I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was the exact same soup a Youtuber had recommended who’d had an extraction! Who knew.) But I did actually chew and drink the lukewarm soup. Was it easy? Nope. But it wasn’t bad either!

I also had an oat bar for dessert. It’s a breakfast bar with chocolate drizzle and while it was good I probably won’t eat it again because it was crumbly, and sticky and a tiny piece of oat got into an extraction site (I got it out with my tongue without disturbing the site, yay me!)

Today, I’ll have the soup for lunch again, and then have mashed potatoes for dinner! I’m so excited, I love potatoes. Just need to make sure they’re extra smooth.

3. I’m doing my saltwater rinses, of course (and I hope I’m doing them right lol no one tells you about the inherent fear that somehow you’re messing up something as basic as a saltwater rinse post extraction but I’m here to tell you, it’s real and it’s normal.) but I’m also brushing my bottom teeth now! My bottom teeth weren’t touched (except for I think a filling) so brushing them is no problem!

I’m not brushing the remaining uppers yet (though I do want to!) just because the staggering of the extractions means it’s hard to keep the brush away from those sites. It’s actually kind of funny? If you’re curious, I’m including a picture with a big X over the teeth that were extracted. For reference, the picture is one I like but it lists only the anterior teeth and not all of them. But still, you can see how it’s staggered on me.

In case you were wondering which ones I thought were being extracted? Well that would be the two central incisors, the premolar (which was really the only one I got right, the one central incisor not included because that was obvious), and my canine on the right which was not extracted and fixed up instead. How wrong I was!

I got off topic. Anyway. It felt really good to brush the bottom teeth (and scrape my tongue!) and just have that clean feeling going on. I’m really paranoid about ruining my new teeth somehow LOL even though they still need deep cleanings so they aren’t all polished up yet but still. This morning I’m trying tea again! But letting it get warm and not hot. I’m also not putting sugar in my tea either as I normally do, since I can’t brush all my teeth. Honestly, I’d be holding off on tea until I can successfully brush where the extraction sites are, etc, but with this cold, I just need something warm for my throat.

4. Another new thing: the pillows I had made into a proverbial fort to sleep up on are gone! We are back to sleeping on the side and just with one pillow! Yay. I’m so happy about this. I read it’s about 3-7 days depending on healing, and with my healing I think I’m good to go. I try to avoid direct pressure when I sleep on my side so it seems to be working fine. And I’ll be honest, I was already sleeping on my side even with the stacked pillows, so it really wasn’t doing much anymore LOL

5. Still trying to recover from this cold and it’s not been fun. I’m now taking some awful tasting cold medicine, though it does seem to help I think? At least a little. Honestly seems better when I don’t talk, so I guess I’ll be trying to stay minimum with that to help heal things up. Honestly this is the first time in years, and years, that everyone in my household has gotten sick at the same time and it’s awful. Now I’m obviously in an unique place in being sick along with recovering from e-day, but honestly the paranoia is real. There’s a part of me that wonders if I’m not really sick and this is just a side effect from general and if I should have just tried it with IV sedation. What if I’m always like this?

What if somehow the surgery messed up my mouth? Of course, I know, deep down, these things aren’t true (especially when two other people are sick too), but it’s hard not to go to panicked thoughts. I think it’s a bit natural really. Even if this was and turns out to be positive long term and lead to my dream life, and the ability to do things I couldn’t before, it‘s still a trauma. It’s still something I need to discuss with my counsellor and make sure I’m integrating fully into my memories and not shoving into a box in the corner of my mind to not pick up again. Without doing that, I won’t heal. And that’s the crux of this time: healing.

6. I really am in this phase of treating myself and not holding back. The plans I’ve made for the future are grand, and I love that. There’s a certain euphoria that comes with having this done, because it has been a thing that’s been looming over my head for far longer than March. Every once in a while, over the ten years since I had last seen a dentist, it would pop into my head “oh I should get my teeth fixed, I’m feeling pretty good.” And then it would disappear because I would let it. I would think “nope, never mind.” It would be “I don’t need to” or “Later, some other time.” And now it’s done. It’s done and it’s over and I’m here, and I think there is a part of me bursting with that confidence and knowledge of it. It’s a bit tempered right now by the healing process and the cold, but it’s still there.

Acceptance not cursing, hope not fear, love not hate. I really think that now, I’m feeling those three things: acceptance, hope and love.
 

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mariyam

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Thank you so much for taking us on your journey with you. It's real, elegant but still raw and authentic, and 100% relatable. The ups, the downs, and everything in between.
 
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APhobicQueen

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Just a very brief sort of post today because ah, well, remember what I said about not having Covid? I took another test (to be on the safe side, since my family member who initially had it is still showing positive, and another family member is now positive) and…yep.

I have Covid!

Well.

This is not exactly what you want to have happen post oral surgery now is it? How absolutely ridiculous. I’m quite upset…actually hold on no, I’m quite angry about it. I’m trying to heal from major dental work and I get Covid? What the hell?

(As an aside, I’m also worried, as someone with health anxiety, because I had put off getting the new booster shot, as when it was finally made available to me, it was too close to oral surgery day for me to feel like I should get it. The healthcare professional I spoke with agreed, since I was going under general. They said to just wait till after that was done. I’m fully vaxxed with one booster I had way back in February though at least. So? Maybe my health anxiety will be nice to me? Can I hope?)

As for where I got Covid. I got it from the family member who tested positive first most definitely. As for where they got Covid…it was either from another family member who was here for Thanksgiving or it was in the dental office when I went for my procedure. Although all of the staff were wearing masks, none of the patients were (besides myself and said family member.) I called the dental office this morning to let them know I had tested positive, but I doubt they’ll be any follow up.

I’m almost certain I’ve just put into focus some very real fears that people were having around here about going to the dentist didn’t I? I’m sure some of us were afraid of going out because of Covid. And although I will probably never know if I got Covid from the dental practice, but the fact it’s a possibility is quite scary isn’t it? I don’t know if it makes me fearful or not, but I do think I’ll probably be even more cautious next time I go in. Like “lots of hand sanitizer“ and “putting my mask on as soon as possible and wearing it as much as possible” cautious.

What is awful is the sheer fatigue that hits you and exhaustion. I’d read about it, but oh man, it is another level. I feel weighed down, like moving one limb is way too hard. And I’m barely sleeping because I’m constantly coughing. And it’s such a hard, forceful cough. I got really worried about my healing mouth at one point, but looking at it, it seems to be healing up pretty well. There’s just one extraction site that seems to be a little slower than the rest, but that’s fine.

Actually with all the coughing, allow me to assuage any fears someone might have about dry socket. It takes more than you think to get there! At least on the uppers. I haven’t gotten it (and I’m going into day seven tomorrow) and I’ve been coughing every 30 seconds for days, and have even accidentally sneezed a few times, yesterday and this morning.

Anyway. I’m not sure when I’ll update here again, as I’m going to be focused on getting better and resting, which will hopefully be really soon.

Stay safe everyone!
 
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mariyam

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I am so sorry to read you have COVID on top of recovering! Hope you feel better soon.
 
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TickingClock

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Going to do extractions soon. You are so brave! Hopefully my extraction is as good as yours!
 
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APhobicQueen

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I’m smiling openly these days.

Not that I didn’t before, because I was always bad with hiding my smile, but now I’m smiling openly in a way that’s different to before.

I don’t have to imagine that my smile is repaired, it is (granted I don’t have my partial yet so there are some gaps LOL but still.) It’s a wonderful thing, a beautiful thing. When I smile, I think of how nice my teeth look (even if I haven’t done the cleanings yet!) And how I can do so openly and without reserve. How beautiful, how amazingly beautiful and healing.

But, even now, we have to discuss something. The paranoia. One of the teeth in my mouth, one that I originally thought would need to come out of my mouth (a canine, left side, the one that was set farther back from my teeth, and the one that was loose), well, it bleeds when I brush it. Yep. Go near the gum line and that sucker starts bleeding.

And well, the first time it happened I thought maybe it was a fluke, but the second time? Oh no, this is a thing.

And I did what I do best. I start to panic. I immediately went to worst case scenario. The tooth is loose, the tooth needs to be extracted, they somehow missed how bad it was, I’m up a creek without a paddle (as my mother would say.) I’m going to have to go through this hell again…

You get the picture.

Not fun at all. And it made me think. It made me think about how everyone assumes once you have extractions done, well the hardest part is over isn’t it? You’re good to go! Ah, not so fast! As it turns out, there’s more to this than you think.

I’m going to have to teach myself to not be paranoid and obsessive. I’m going to have to teach myself that it’s okay. And my teeth (my remaining teeth) are okay.
Here’s the thing: I haven’t had my cleanings yet, so just because I got extractions and restorations on some bad teeth, doesn’t mean I’ve gotten rid of the gingivitis and gotten all my teeth nice and clean. I haven’t! That will be coming once I’m healed up and get my partials fitted (I’m assuming, they haven’t said when but I think it’ll be after that.) Bleeding when brushing is a sign of gingivitis. It doesn’t mean the gum is unhealthy in a way that’s irreversible or anything, just that it needs some extra loving care and attention.

Not to mention. This is a tooth that has shifted forward and actually a bit to the right significantly in a little over a week. I’m sure that that, paired with being right next to two extraction sites, has to have had some influence on the gum.

This is logic. This is fact.

This is not me sitting here and wondering if I feel pain (which I keep thinking I feel whenever I focus too hard on it, it’s actually in my head. Well, I do feel a bit of an ache, that’s not quite true, but that’s from my sinuses and Covid LOL); this is not me, sitting her and convincing myself of the worst case scenario. This is me using fact. The very thing that is my boon now.

And for the record, I did the thing you aren’t supposed to do too: I took my tongue and just tried to push against the tooth this morning. Didn’t budge. Not one iota. It’s in there solid as can be. It’s not loose anymore. That’s an excellent sign.

Will I still tell my dentist about the bleeding? Oh of course! Do I think I need to be truly worried and paranoid? Nope. I’m sure I’ll be fine. We’re not done yet, the journey is still ongoing.

(P.S. My extraction sites are healing up nicely! My front tooth still feels odd in my mouth so I’ll also be talking to the team about that. I’m not sure it needs reshaping, it might really just be because it’s by itself, but we’ll see. It doesn’t feel as odd as it did.

Also I’m feeling better than I was! Mostly it’s my nose and sinuses right now that are proving an issue. I’ve stopped coughing for the most part. I’ll take another test tomorrow as per guidelines to see if I’m still Covid positive or not. Cross your fingers that I’m not!

Oh and eating! I’m chewing again! But only on one side. My right side where I only had one extraction and I can keep food away from the sites. I’m really paranoid about getting anything in there right now even though I know the clots have closed up and there isn’t really any risk of dry socket. Still! It can’t be helped LOL I’ll get there. But hey, at least I’m chewing things again. It feels so good. I can’t wait until the day I can actually bite into something haha!)

@TickingClock Good luck on your extractions! I hope they go smoothly, and please let me know how it went! You got this!
 
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APhobicQueen

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Nothing ever comes easy does it? I swear this year isn’t done with me yet, but it’s okay! I’m going to get through it like I always do.

So.

I have a followup scheduled with Dr. G on the 1st of November. It’s important to note that until today, I did not have a follow up scheduled. The 10th of November was to meet Albert, who is the one who makes the dentures. Supposedly, he would look and see how things were healing.

Well, in ten days, I now see Dr. G.

Why you may ask? Well I phoned this morning. As was the right thing to do. That tooth, the canine that’s still there? Every time I brush it bleeds. And today it’s been aching quite a bit, enough I might end up taking Tylenol later for it. But I haven’t taken Tylenol in days, and when I was healing initially that was also all I took for my pain, not even ibuprofen and Tylenol combined, just regular ‘ol extra strength Tylenol.

I figure, with Covid 19, perhaps it’s a sinus issue, that I happen to be feeling more because you know, I did just get teeth extracted. Very plausible considering how connected our sinuses are to our mouths.

When it does bleed, it comes from this little pinprick of a spot that’s beside the canine left, and the extraction site. It’s like in between the two. Isn’t that hilarious?

Anyway.

I’m trying very hard not to panic. Panicking you see, is natural. Already I can feel my anxiety saying “Well you’ll have to get another tooth extracted now without general because it’s just one tooth” or “you have a bad infection, oh you can’t even wait ten days can you!” or something else that’s equally horrible and that I feel I can’t deal with (like I have sepsis from an infection I didn’t even know about. Yeah because that makes sense LOL)

(It should be noted the reception told me if my pain got worse, I should call back and they would have me come in to see another dentist since Dr.G is away next week.)

Also for the record a family member told me that if they see anything, they’ll probably just prescribe me some antibiotics or medicine or a mouth rinse. She thinks, is 100% certain even, that it’s not anything worse than that and she doesn’t even think it’s that. I’m trying to remain optimistic, but I can tell this is going to be a more uphill battle to change my thinking than I originally hoped it would be.

Well. As my counsellor has told me: you think of the worst case scenario? All right now do the best case. Go on, do it.

After all, my extraction surgery was the best case scenario. Yes I had to have four teeth extracted, but I had teeth saved too, and only one was complex. Everything was healing up fine, I didn’t get dry socket (to my knowledge) and I was told it was a very smooth going. That was the best case scenario (or at the very least most realistic.) It wasn’t worst case. The only time it’s been the worst case is back in March when I went for the first time in 10 years, and at that point, it had been ten years so really.

Onwards I go over the coals and through the fire. Hopefully things will be fine and it’s just me being paranoid/my sinus from Covid.

(P.S. I am also filled with dread just in general at going back to the dentist but hey I got through extraction surgery, this should be a piece of cake right? It’s going to be a long time I think before I can go and not feel dread but we’re working on it.)

(P.P.S. I think even without the ache/bleeding thing, it was probably wise to have a follow up appointment anyway? Just to make sure everything is good to go, you know? Like it makes sense. I was surprised they didn’t book me one beforehand but I guess they didn’t feel the need.)
 
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mariyam

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Oct 13, 2022
Messages
98
Location
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You can do this! And I'm glad you have a closer follow up. Isn't anxiety just the best? It's like a clingy ex that can't take a hint to go away. You've changes your number, moved continents, changed your name and POOF one morning you go out and there it is with a fresh new bouquet of ideas. Maybe it's also the COVID, isn't COVID supposed to do some really strange things to our bodies?
 
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